Mathematical Proceedings of the Cambridge Philosophical Society

Research Article

Note on hydrodynamics

Sir Charles Darwina1

a1 Christ's College Cambridge


A study is made of the actual trajectories of fluid particles in certain motions of classical hydrodynamics. When a solid body moves through an incompressible fluid, it induces a drift in the fluid, such that the final positions of the particles are further on than those from which they started. The drift-volume enclosed between the initial and final positions is equal to the volume corresponding to hydrodynamic mass, that is, the mass of fluid to be added to that of the solid in calculating its kinetic energy. This result is proved quite generally. The work involves integrals which are not absolutely convergent, and these are discussed in relation to the general mechanics of fluids. When the trajectories are considered of the fluid surrounding a rotating body, it is shown that the fluid particles slowly drift round the body, even though the motion is irrotational and without circulation. There seems to be in some respects a closer resemblance between the behaviour of the idealized hydrodynamic fluid and a real fluid than might be expected from the well-known discrepancies between them.

(Received July 30 1952)